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Meet Beverly Hills Photographer, Director, and Lighting Designer: Evan Cox

Today we’d like to introduce you to Evan Cox.

Evan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Ventura, California and attended UC Berkeley to study film and media. I have always been absolutely in love with California from top to bottom. It’s the perfect place to grow up and be constantly inspired and energized or to create and capture the beautiful and bizarre. Growing up, I spent every free moment I had painting, photographing, surfing, and creating music with my friends. The feeling that enveloped me when I caught my first wave – or strummed my first guitar – was that same feeling I had when I picked up my first camera. I knew it would be a tool that would rule my life and dictate many of my future decisions. In my college years, I began to take a pointed interest in both still photography and cinematography, the one common core between it all being an intense passion for lighting and its ability to transform an image. Mentors to me included creative directors to Hollywood glamor photographer, George Hurrell, along with many other talented photographers and filmmakers, but perhaps my greatest influences are (French Vogue photographer) Helmut Newton and Stanley Kubrick. I always strive to achieve a wealth of emotion and story within any of my projects just as they did, whether it be a single frame or many.

After my time in the Bay Area, I came back to LA and immediately started working in motion picture lighting as the Stage Manager at Mole-Richardson Co, the oldest and most prestigious lighting company in Hollywood. Here I was able to work with and understudy many talented and legendary A.S.C. cinematographers, many of whom have been heroes and inspirations throughout my life and career. Fast forward through five years of work in photography, cinematography, lighting, and directing, from small jobs shooting right down the street to larger jobs that take me across the world; that same feeling of excitement and discovery is always present.

Inspired by light. Inspired by life. Projecting this fascination into a single frame or many.

Has it been a smooth road?
Today, the struggle for inspiration can be a relatively universal one. We live in a world constantly inundated, every second of the day, with digital art. Everyone has a say and a venue to display their work on social media, and to deny this can be suicide. This pressure to constantly post unique content and always be visible can negatively impact the ability to delve into deeper issues, whether personal or universal; however, it also provides us with a wealth of material to draw connections and commentaries between us and the past. In these small areas of contradiction and contrast is where I prefer to exist and where I believe I thrive. The old and the new.

Not knowing if a particular project or idea will be successful is always a struggle as well. You never know how any particular person or group will react to a photo, or if putting your own time and money into a job will pay off. And in the end, it doesn’t matter, If I didn’t allow my work to be criticized, or if I was unwilling to invest anything extra in myself, I’d be cutting off a lot of avenues for growth. As with surfing, or anything else for that matter, if you are not falling, if you are not failing, then you are not progressing. This has always been a mantra of mine, so I prefer not to view my obstacles or missteps as failures, but rather as opportunities to realize how far I can push myself and my work.

With that in mind, I think it’s absolutely vital to trust yourself and your vision. One thing I learned fairly quickly when it comes to creative work is that it’s not always about making something based on what the audience or consumer in front of you wants, sometimes it’s more about going out and finding that right audience, or even letting that audience find you. I can only edit or refine an image so much until it’s not mine anymore, and it doesn’t represent me. Knowing when to move on from an idea that isn’t working, and when to stand up for your vision or move on from a client that isn’t working, can make all the difference in your success.

Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
Being a lifelong film lover and shooter is always a constant revolving door of difficult moments. I’m not holding my breath it will ever get easier.

What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
Be flexible, be attentive, be open-minded and willing to adapt. But never, ever, be willing to compromise who you are as an artist for any of those above mentioned things or others. Being flexible and easily adjustable has always been a big deal for most all my clients, they hire me to produce a specific image, but they also hire me to add my individual flare to it. Your vision is what got you this far, to begin with, so trust yourself when you’re confident in an artist decision. Play with the glove that got you there.

What are you looking forward to?
My outlook hasn’t always been bright and hopeful. I used to feel restricted in LA, finding something unique and underused to capture was becoming more of a chore than an adventure. My outlook took a sharp turn for the better when I started traveling more and creating more opportunities for myself, instead of searching high and low for opportunities offered by others. I traveled to the places I was interested in exploring, created the work I wanted to create, and worried about who and where my audience might come from later.

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